|Sensitive Briar- Click to enlarge|
Sensitive Briar, Mimosa nuttallii (a.k.a. Cat's Claw, Nuttall's Sensitive Briar, Bashful Briar, Shame-boy, Devil's Shoestrings) is a common plant on some prairies and glades and can be found on disturbed soils. While some gardeners are ambivalent about its spreading nature, cattle love it and its seeds are high in protein.
Sensitive briar was named the 2010 Wildflower of the Year in Kansas. A Missouri University cynic might snidely say that Kansas didn't have much to choose from, but for my money it was really cool. The part that excited me was the closing of the leaves to touch. Well OK, there weren't a lot of exciting things to do in Kansas back then and I wasn't the swiftest kid on the block, but it could keep me busy for a while. By the time I was done, there wouldn't be an open leaf in 50 feet.
|Pulvinus shrink at bottom|
There is also "negative thigmotropism" causing roots pressing against one of our Ozark rocks to turn away in another direction. Now if we could incorporate that into an Ozark shovel, botanical science could be a money maker.
More on plant responses from Natural History magazine is at Do Plants Have Brains